Sunday, January 02, 2005

On bats and windfarms

When we moved in to our current home, one of our first visitors was the minister from the local church. After a bit of a chat we got to talking about the local wildlife, and the conversation eventually turned to bats. Which made her explode.

It was a bit of a shock to hear a lady of the cloth explode, but that is exactly what happened. It appeared that the local bat protection league had got some sort of a legal writ forbidding the minister from lighting a fire in the fireplace in her sitting room because they were worried that this might disturb the bats which roosted in her attic. Because of this she was left with the unenviable choice of sharing her sitting room with bats (of which she was terrified) or shutting off that end of the house completely. And she was raging about it. But there was nothing she could do because essentially the state had confiscated her home in favour of the bats.

Now when I heard about this I made a mental note that should I ever have a suspicion of there being bats in my attic, I would (accidentally, you understand) leave a light on in the attic for a couple of months so as to avoid any difficulties later on. Now I have nothing against bats in particular, unlike the minister who had developed a pathological hatred of them, to put alongside her already highly developed phobia. So she would have been pleased to read this article from the Washington Post (registration required)

Thousands of bats have died at Backbone and on another nearby wind farm in Meyersdale, Pa. -- more per turbine than at any other wind facility in the world, according to researchers' estimates. The deaths are raising concerns about the impact of hundreds more turbines planned in the East, including some in western Maryland, as the wind industry steps up expansion beyond its traditional areas in the West and Great Plains.

Now this is in many ways rather fortuitous as there is a plan afoot to cover most of the local hilltops with windfarms.

So I suppose every cloud has a silver lining. My view may be ruined, but I won't have to worry about bats any more.